Councils get power over Welsh pay

3rd March 2000 at 00:00
WELSH education authorities, and not a private contractor, will monitor pay threshold assessment for teachers in Wales.

LEAs are also to play a leading role in the new annual appraisal system for teachers in Wales, which will now be introduced in September 2001, a year later than for teachers in England.

Announcing these striking departures from the proposals for England, Welsh Assembly education secretary Rosemary Butler said this week they were "to reflect the needs of teachers in Wales".

However, the assembly is seeking further concessions and is considering taking legal advice on whether the Welsh can have their own assessment criteria at the threshold, rather than those decided by the Department for Education and Employment.

Teachers in Wales will receive application forms for threshold assessment after Easter and will have rises paid from September 1.

Mrs Butler also outlined on Wednesday proposals for a specifically Welsh performance management system. This is the annual appraisal ofteachers' performance that will "inform" but not determine their pay - and thus falls within the responsibility of the assembly, not the DFEE.

Her scheme stresses the importance of teamwork and self-evaluation by teachers and makes the use of exam results or test scores as a measure of pupil progress optional. It gives Welsh LEAs the major advisory and training role in performance management. The new system will be delayed until 2001 "to give everyone concerned more time to prepare", with two whole-school training days in 2000.

The threshold criteria include a clear link between pay and pupils' results, whereas the Welsh proposals on annual appraisal say that results should only be included in a teacher's performance objectives "if they would make a balanced and sensible contribution to the appraisal of the teacher".

But on Monday the five main Welsh teaching unions challenged Rhodri Morgan, first secretary of the assembly urging his administration to defy Westminster over performance pay.

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